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Students march on District headquarters, protesting doomsday budget

By the Notebook on May 7, 2013 09:13 PM
Photo: Emma Lee/NewsWorks

Public high school students march down Broad Street to protest planned budget cuts on Tuesday. 

by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks

Philadelphia School District students are furious that they may have to endure even more cuts after they've already lost several nurses, central office staff members and a beloved annual musical at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

A group of roughly 250 students marched to the District's headquarters at 440 N. Broad St., where they held their own sort of musical on Tuesday afternoon to protest what some have called next year's "doomsday budget."

The protesters danced and played instruments. They waved signs that read, "Schools Are Not a Business" and "Money for Education, Not Incarceration." 

They sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which was once famously performed in 1900 by African American students celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

The School District is facing a $300 million deficit next fiscal year, officials say, if the city, state and labor unions don't chip in. District officials are asking for an additional $60 million from the city and $120 million from the state. Without it, they've warned that they'll have to go without guidance counselors, librarians and extracurricular activities.

Rebecca Chalil, a senior at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, said she can't imagine additional cuts. She said losing a musical was a huge blow to her classmates' morale.

Continue reading this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (8)

Submitted by Philly Activist (not verified) on May 8, 2013 8:57 am
There were three other High Schools including Franklin Learning Center protesting in a uniformly fashion! Kudos to our students for having their voices heard! Way to go!
Submitted by EILEEN DUFFEY (not verified) on May 8, 2013 8:45 am
Perhaps 250 students from CAPA marched up Broad Street, but I was there and there were students from many other schools and the crowd was much bigger than 250 students. I saw students from Academy at Palumbo, Cantral, Constitution, Bodine and Franklin Learning Center. I am sure other schools were there but these I can verify as I know the students. I have never been so proud of our district students. They were articulate, impassioned and organized. They shared their instrumental, musical and vocal and intellectual talents. If this district is to be saved it may be because our students lead the way. THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED. WE NEED YOUR VOICES IN THIS BATTLE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on May 8, 2013 8:59 am
It is absolutely Awesome to see students stand up for themselves. Yeah students! What is a disgrace is that our leaders refuse to stand up for them. There is a great commentary in the Inky this morning written by Eileen DiFranco about the "game of chicken" our leaders are playing at the expense of our children.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 8, 2013 5:23 pm
I second your praise for Ms. DiFranco's opinion piece. Here is the link: I don't know how dollar for dollar, the economics the 1930s compare to today with respect to public education. The Great Depression was worse than the Great Recession, but public education today (even without the costs of charter schools) is more expensive than in the 1930s due to smaller class sizes, technology, pensions and health care, maintaining older buildings, and so on. Also, perhaps Philadelphia had a better tax base in the 1930s than it does now. However, the overall point of Ms. DiFranco's comparison stands---in the 1930s, public schools were sufficiently funded in spite of the Depression. (Someone with more knowledge could give more detailed comments about budget cuts in the 1930s.) However, if the Board of Education did have to make cuts, programs and personnel such as music, extracurricular activities, secretaries, and so on remained intact. I didn't live in the 1930s, so I don't know if budget cuts like the proposed ones for next year could have happened. The point remains, though, that even during the 1930s, the Philadelphia Public Schools could provide funding for extracurricular activities and other programs comprising a comprehensive education. Mayor Nutter, Dr. Hite, and Gov. Corbett, should be ashamed of themselvesv for leaving the children of this city with the scraps of education funding. Hopefully, if nothing else happens, media coverage may shame them into providing more funding. I won't be hold my breath, though. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on May 8, 2013 8:06 pm
I agree, the Inquirer Piece was great. These folks can't be shamed or humiliated not embarrassed. They just don't care and when you don't care, you have nothing to lose. Having said that, Corbett must go or we're all dead. Nutter is what he is and he's out already. Hite will be gone too in a year or 2 but Corbett is the key. He needs to go and should never have been elected. We all need to look into the mirror and be ashamed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 20, 2013 9:58 am
How is it Corbett's problem that the city only funds a third of the PSD's budget, as compared to surrounding districts getting 80%+ of their funding from local sources, and you basically give Nutter a free pass? I can kind of understand the mentality of pretty much any politician throughout the rest of the state outside of Philly on this one. Nutter should maybe focus on at least getting the drink tax current collection rate over 50% before increasing the tax rate.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 20, 2013 9:03 am
Nutter can start with collecting property taxes. Phila. has the lowest property tax collection rate in the U.S. It is a disgrace that the City for decades has allowed people to not pay their property taxes while others pay through the nose. Also, the city only gives 55% of property taxes to the School District. Raise it to 70% and I'm sure the Nutter Administration will make an effort to collect property taxes. (The City will need the money not collected in the past.)
Submitted by John Doe (not verified) on May 8, 2013 9:42 am
Its about the students.. Im glad that some recognize that. Its about the students.. I am a product of the philly public schools, Im glad its wasnt like this when I was in school

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